Spotting undue influence is no easy task for estate planning attorneys. When Mom wants to change her trust to favor Sally over Johnny, Mom presumably is making her own choice for her own reasons. But it’s also possible that Sally, behind the scenes, is pushing Mom to make the change.
An estate planner is like a mariner viewing an iceberg. The top 10 percent of an iceberg is visible above the ocean’s surface while the bottom 90 percent is unseen and potentially hazardous. A planning attorney typically interacts with the client for a relatively brief period of time outside of the client’s home, and is unfamiliar with the events that led up to the client’s arrival. So what can the attorney do to look out for undue influence?